Michelle Jackson was a multi-year pro playing at the highest level of professional tennis, but it almost never happened.

The Fort Lauderdale resident was a huge soccer fanatic, but her mother had her change sports to keep her from playing with the boys because she was small.

Not knowing what tennis was, Jackson took lessons, fell for the sport and worked her way up to becoming one of the best youth players in the state of Florida. She later took that talent to the Women’s Tennis Association from 1991 to 1997, eventually having to retire due to a torn rotator cuff.

After taking a break, Jackson wound up returning to the court and playing tournaments after hearing the OutGames were coming to Miami. With a chance to represent her country and take part in a competition where LGBT competitors could feel accepted, Jackson said she felt like it would be an honor to compete again.

“Besides the fact it’s like the gay Olympics, I think it’s amazing where you can get people from all around the world to compete in something as big as this event and not have to worry about anything and just be yourself, especially in Miami where it’s so diversified,” she said.

Jackson said she loves competing in sports of all types and spending time with her family and her partner Sue. With a self-proclaimed motto of living her life to the fullest, Jackson is hopeful she will enjoy playing out the tournament and doing something that has a lot of personal meaning.